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ASU Football: 5 takeaways from the Sun Devil victory over New Mexico

What did we learn from ASU's 34-10 victory against the Lobos?

The triple option is dead. Long live the triple option.
The triple option is dead. Long live the triple option.
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

While it appeared early as if Arizona State might struggle once again with a lesser opponent, the Sun Devils ended up finishing non-conference play with a 34-10 rout of New Mexico. They now sit at 2-1 on the young season and turn their attention to the Pac-12 portion of the schedule, beginning with a visit from USC next Saturday. Before we look ahead, let's take one final look back at the Lobos with our five takeaways from the game.

1. The two game "triple option season" is complete: When reflecting on the defensive play these last two games, it's important to realize that the rest of the season may look completely different. The maroon and gold will not play another team that runs the triple option, and no one is happier about that fact than head coach Todd Graham.

This isn't completely a positive. There is still plenty to work on, namely getting off the field with better efficiency on third down. But the season is going to look much different now, as the style of football that Arizona State's players and fans are more accustomed to returns for the entirety of conference play.

Unfortunately for the team, there isn't much of a proper acclimation or warm up period awaiting them. No. 6 USC will be in town next week, bringing big time playmakers like quarterback Cody Kessler and wide receiver John "JuJu" Smith along with them.

2. Demario Richard continues to impress: After putting up 121 yards last week against Cal Poly, the big question for the Sun Devil offense was what Richard would do for an encore. The fallow-up performance was even more impressive. The sophomore running back put together the best game of his career thus far, rushing for 104 yards and gaining 150 more through the air. Graham was quick to laud Richard's record-breaking outputs after the game.

He wants to be great. He runs with an attitude and he runs through tackles.

Just like we do not fully know what to expect from the defense after these last two games, the same can be said for Richard. The Trojan front seven is going to look a whole lot tougher than that of the Mustangs and Lobos, but what's important is that Richard has taken care of business so far. He's provided a much-needed alternative when Mike Bercovici has struggled, and he is gaining a lot of attitude and confidence at the same time.

3. Run, Berco, Run: An increased importance on Bercovici keepers out of the zone read led to positive results on Friday. He kept the ball out of the option package three times early on in the second half, the final instance resulting in an eight-yard touchdown run for the senior quarterback. Obviously, the more he pulls the ball and decides to run, the more the opposing defense has to game-plan against it. Keeping the defense off balance will not only result in more yards for Bercovici, but more success for Richard as well.

Richard said after the game that he has been telling his quarterback all year to use his feet more, and Graham was heard saying the same thing on the sideline during the game. So at this point, the ball is completely in Bercovici's court. The more experience he gets, the better he should get at making the correct reads. It certainly adds an important flavor to the maroon and gold's offensive attack, and will also open up more big play opportunities that the team sorely needs.

4. Speaking of big plays: Not only do home run balls help the offense through scoring and gaining momentum, they also go a long way in the crowd pleasing department. With Arizona State yet to complete a pass of longer than 40 yards in its first two games, fans were desperate to see one Friday. Late in the third quarter, they got what they were looking for.

Facing a 3rd and 10 from their own seven yard line after the officials missed a safety call, Bercovici hit Richard with a perfect 17-yard pass to get a first down. He would end up getting much more. A great block on the outside by receiver Ellis Jefferson opened up the sideline for Richard, and the speed-demon did the rest himself. He had gone 93 yards by the time he crossed the goal line (the third longest pass play in program history), putting the dagger into New Mexico in the process.

5. White lightning: If Richard was the thunder on Friday, Tim White provided the lightning. After breaking out last week against Cal Poly, the junior had another big game at wide receiver.

He caught four passes for 42 yards, including a 14-yarder that featured a slick jump cut for the team's first touchdown of the night. The College of the Canyons transfer also electrified the crowd at the very start of the second half, returning the opening kickoff 34 yards to ignite a touchdown drive.